Vehicle routing problems have been extensively analyzed within the last few decades, since they play a central role in optimization of distribution networks. This paper presents a new Hybrid Electromagnetism-like Algorithm for solving capacitated vehicle routing problems. Electromagnetism-like Algorithm is a population-based algorithm based on attraction-repulsion mechanisms between charged particles. A modified objective function value calculation approach, utilizing the Random-Key Procedure makes it possible for Electromagnetism-like Algorithm to solve known combinatorial optimization problems like capacitated vehicle routing problems. Here, the solutions obtained such are improved by a relatively new local search method, Iterated Swap Procedure, and tested on several benchmarking problems. The computational results show that the proposed Hybrid Electromagnetism-like Algorithm gives promising results within acceptable computational times when compared to other novel meta-heuristics. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.